Leadership Across Group Divides
Group living represents a fundamental survival strategy, developed across human evolutionary history. Yet conflict between groups is a ubiquitous phenomenon. Cooperation and harmony between members of different groups are critical not only within societies and organizations but also for global stability and productivity. How can leaders effectively encourage members of different groups to work cooperatively rather than competitively and place collective welfare over their own group's gain? This chapter focuses on how leaders can bring together different groups, with different perspectives and often mutual mistrust, in stable and productive relations. The authors examine the importance of social identity, as compared with personal identity, and illustrate how leaders can redirect and manage the forces of social identity that can divide groups to promote positive interactions. This chapter was previously published as chapter 1 of "Crossing the Divide: Intergroup Leadership in a World of Difference."
- 2009 HBS Press
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